Saint of the Day – 9 April – Blessed Thomas of Tolentino OFM (c 1255–1321) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 9 April – Blessed Thomas of Tolentino OFM (c 1255–1321) Martyr, professed Franciscan Friar, thomas of tolentino.JPG

Thomas was born in Tolentino in the March of Ancona within the Papal States around 1250 to 1260.   Becoming a Franciscan early in life, he developed a reputation for his strict adherence to its rule, particularly concerning his vow of poverty.   A fellow of St Nicholas of Tolentino (c 1246–1305) and one of Angelo da Clareno’s Spiritual Franciscans, Thomas was jailed twice for his excessive condemnation of luxury.

After being released through the intervention of Raymond Godefroy, a new minister general who sympathised with the Spiritualists, Thomas travelled with companion Franciscans as missionaries to Lesser Armenia in 1289.   In 1291, its King Haython II directed him to return to the courts of Rome, Paris and London to seek help against his Muslim foes.   His efforts to raise a new crusade were unsuccessful and he returned east, departing a second time to gather more missionaries.
Returning with twelve companions in 1302, he worked in Armenia and Persia.   He debated Armenian Christians he considered heretics and participated in the Council of Sis that partially reunited the Armenian and Roman Catholic churches in 1307.

While in Persia, two letters dated 1305 and 1306 arrived from John of Montecorvino, the Franciscan missionary to China and Thomas again travelled to Europe, delivering the correspondence to Rome in 1307.   While there, he addressed a public consistory of the pope and cardinals, praising John’s work in China and asking for assistance in developing his mission.   He also discussed the matter with Clement V at Poitiers in 1308, after which an ecclesiastical hierarchy was established for the Roman Catholics in China. The pontiff named John archbishop of Khanbaliq (now within modern Beijing) and seven Franciscan bishops and many friars were sent to join him.   Only three of the bishops and a few friars, however, successfully completed the journey.   Thomas seems to have then travelled a fourth time to Armenia and Persia.

There is a gap until 1320, during which Thomas may have laboured in India or China.   In 1320, Thomas left from Hormuz with his fellow Franciscan, Blessed James of Padua and Blessed Peter of Siena, the Dominican Blessed Jordan of Severac and the layman Blessed Demetrio da Tifliz.   A Georgian or Armenian, Demetrius was proficient at languages and served as the group’s interpreter.   A storm en route, forced the party to land at Thane on the island of Salsette Island near Mumbai in India. Jordan left them to preach at Bharuch, before he heard Demetrius and the Franciscans had been arrested.

The family with whom they were staying had fallen into a quarrel and the husband had beaten his wife.   When she went to the magistrate to report this abuse, she had mentioned the four clerics as witnesses and they were called before him.   Thomas, James and Demetrius had gone to the court while Peter remained behind to look after their things.   Having begun a discussion of religion, the magistrate had asked them their opinion of Muhammad and Thomas replied bluntly that he was “the son of perdition and had his place in Hell with the Devil his father”.   At this, the Muslims around the court called for their death for blasphemy.   Some accounts claim they were scourged and tortured before their execution by beheading on 8 April 1321. Peter was martyred three days later on 11 April.

Bernardino Licini Franciscan Martyrs

The local Christians may have buried Thomas and his companions but Jordanus Catalani, arriving too late to save them, removed their bodies to the church at Supera with the help of a Genovese youth.   In 1323 or 1326, Blessed Odoric of Pordenone (1286-1331) passed through the region.   Having learned about Thomas and his companions, he took their relics with him to Quanzhou in Fujian.   Thomas’s skull he took back to Europe, where he bestowed it on the Franciscan chapter in Tolentino in 1330.   It was later moved to the town’s cathedral by a Pisan merchant in the late 14th century, who erected a chapel there in the martyr’s honour with the approval of Boniface IX.   It is now kept in the central cathedral in a silver bust.

Thomas and his companions had been unofficially reckoned beatified since the 14th century.   Jordan claimed to have miraculously healed the dysentery of his Genovese companion with one of Thomas’s teeth  . Thomas’s cult was approved by Pius VII in 1809 and again by Leo XIII in 1894.   He is venerated sometimes together with his companions as the Four Martyrs of Thane, on 9 April.franciscan saints

Posted in FRANCISCAN, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 7 April – Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta (1878-1905)

Saint of the Day – 7 April – Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta (1878-1905) aged 27, born Assunta Maria Pallotta, was an Italian professed Religious who served as a member of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, Missionary to China.  Patronages – Missionaries, against typhus.   Her body is incorrupt.Bienheureuse_Maria_Assunta_Pallotta.jpg

Assunta Maria Pallotta was born on 20 August 1878 in a little village called Force, Italy. Of a gentle and peaceful nature, Assunta was the ray of sunshine in the family home where she was the eldest of four boys and two girls. Although Assunta’s childhood was relatively happy, her family lived in great poverty.   She attended school just for the time necessary to learn to read and write.   In spite of her young age, very soon she had to devote herself fully to the life of the family.   She was a skilful little housekeeper, full of good sense and very active and she helped her mother in everything.

In order to help her family, she courageously faced the humblest and hardest work.   At a certain time, she worked as a diligent little labourer, carrying in a willow basket the materials necessary for the construction work.

When still very young, her attraction for prayer could already be seen.   She had a filial tenderness for the Blessed Virgin and she could be seen setting up little altars or decorating with flowers the pictures of the beloved Madonna in the countryside.  Assunta’s piety very naturally radiated around her by means of a discreet apostolate.   She liked to gather the children of her own age together in the church or under the porch, to speak to them about the goodness of God with all the fervour of her heart.

​On Sundays and in her rare moments of leisure, she would be seen very often in the Church, kneeling for hours before the altar, conversing with the Friend of the humble and the lesser people.   Apprenticed to the old tailor in the village, she liked to place in front of her a holy picture which she looked at from time to time, while her lips murmured the Hail Marys of the Rosary.

At the age of twelve Assunta received Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time.   It was an inexpressible moment of happiness for her, the memory of which would remain as one of the most beautiful of her life.

As a teenager, everyone who knew her was struck by her serenity in look and manner. She was a girl of calm common sense.   Her spirituality was really quite simple.   To God she offered her heart in frequent prayer.   Then, as a continued prayer, she dedicated her exterior actions.

Drawn to give her life entirely to God, Assunta confided in her parish priest, her director, who encouraged her vocation.   When she was nineteen, Assunta decided to enter the convent but encountered many obstacles not least among them her mother’s objections and her lack of dowry.  mariaassuntasite.jpgBut prayer prevailed and at last a letter from Rome, from the Foundress of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, arrived, “Let the little one come as she is.   The doors of the convent of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Mary at 12 Via Giusti are open to receive her.”

Assunta began her postulancy at St Helen’s Convent in Rome.   During her time as a postulant, Assunta was employed in the kitchen.   Humble and silent, she fulfilled her charge so perfectly that for a long time she was cited as a model to those who came after her.

On 9 October 1898, Assunta was received as a novice and sent to the convent at Grottaferrata.   Here, Sr Maria Assunta was employed in work in the fields.   In this modest field of work, sparing herself neither time nor trouble, Sister Maria Assunta was as happy as in the most attractive work.   To serve God and her neighbour in the humblest and most mortified ways was her motto.   It enabled her to feel true Franciscan joy.

There at the end of November, 1898, Assunta met Mother Mary of the Passion.   Upon learning that Assunta came from an area called “The Marches” Mother Mary of the Passion said, “That is the land of saints.  You must become a saint too”. Assunta had her watchword.   In the depth of her heart, Assunta was stowing away these simple words as her precious heritage.

In January 1902, Sr. Assunta left her beloved Grottaferrata to join a new convent in Florence.   For two years she was to be the joy of this house.   Without having any fixed employment, she helped in all the charges.   When there was extra work or when a harder job presented itself, one was sure to find her ready  . She accepted the request for a service with a lovely smile, nothing changed her good humour.  This angelic patience, the gentleness of her character, caused her to be sent as a helper to the infirmary where the sick benefited from the charitable devotedness of their improvised nurse.

On 19 March 1904, together with nine other Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, Assunta set sail for China.   Ardently Sister Maria Assunta began to study the Chinese language in order to be able to speak of the goodness of God to those around her.   In the convent where the Franciscan nuns cared for four hundred orphans Maria Assunta joyfully worked in the kitchen.   She did her work there with as much diligence and care as she would have taught catechism.   To accomplish her daily duties as perfectly as possible seemed to her the best way of working as a true missionary.   Ever intimately united with God, she lived day by day the ordinary community life for His honour and glory.

A serious epidemic of typhus broke out in the community and she fell victim to it.   She bore the suffering with great patience and fortified by the rites of Holy Church, she died at sunset on 7 April 1905, being then only twenty-seven years old.   Non-believers as well as Christians flocked to the place where she lay as a mysterious perfume filled the entire house for three days after her maria assunta portrait

Eight years after Sister Assunta’s death when the community was moving to Tai-Yuan-Foo, the Bishop asked for the body of Sister Assunta to be transferred.   The disinterment revealed the fact that the body was incorrupt.    After being exhumed, the body remained exposed to the air in the chapel of the cemetery for a month without being affected.   Once again, God showed His favour for the little missionary Sister who lived for Him alone.

On 7 November 1954, Sister Assunta was beatified by Pope Pius XII.   The Church officially recognised the little Italian girl whose life had been a song of simplicity, purity and love and who is indeed the beloved of Christ whom she had served so devotedly.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Posted in FRANCISCAN, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 5 March – St John Joseph of the Cross OFM (1654-1734)

Saint of the Day – 5 March – St John Joseph of the Cross OFM (1654-1734) – Priest, Franciscan Friar, Mystic, ascetic, gifted with prophecy and miracles – born Carlo Gaetano Calosinto on 15 August 1654 at Ischia, Naples, Italy and died on 5 March 1734 of natural causes.   Patronage – Ischia.Saint-John-Joseph-of-the-Cross

Saint John Joseph of the Cross was born on the feast of the Assumption in 1654, on the island of Ischia in the kingdom of Naples.   From his childhood he was a model of virtue and in his sixteenth year he entered the Franciscan Order of the Strict Observance, or Reform of Saint Peter of Alcantara (1499-1562), at Naples.   Such was the edification he gave in his Order, that within three years after his profession he was sent to found a monastery in Piedmont.   He assisted in its construction himself and established there the most perfect silence and monastic fervour.

One day Saint John Joseph was found in the chapel in ecstasy, raised far above the floor. He won the hearts of all his religious and became a priest out of obedience to his Superiors.   He obtained what seemed to be an inspired knowledge of moral theology, in prayer and silence.   He assisted at the death of his dear mother who rejoiced and seemed to live again in his presence and after he had sung the Mass for the repose of her soul, saw her soul ascend to heaven, to pray thereafter to their God face to john joseph of the cross 5 march

With his superiors’ permission he established another convent and drew up rules for the Community, which the Holy See confirmed.   Afterward, he became a master of novices vigilant and filled with gentleness and of a constantly even disposition.   Some time later he was made Provincial of the Province of Naples, erected in the beginning of the 18th century by Clement XI.   He laboured hard to establish in Italy this branch of his Order, which the Sovereign Pontiff had separated from the same branch in Spain.   His ministry brought him many sufferings, especially moral sufferings occasioned by numerous calumnies.   Nonetheless, the Saint succeeded in his undertakings, striving to inculcate in his subjects the double spirit of contemplation and penance which Saint Peter of Alcantara had bequeathed to the Franciscans of the Strict Observance.   He gave them the example of the most sublime virtues, especially of humility and religious discipline. God rewarded his zeal with numerous gifts in the supernatural order, such as those of prophecy and miracles.

Finally, consumed by labours for the glory of God, he was called to his reward.   Stricken with apoplexy, he died an octogenarian in his convent at Naples, on 5 March 1734. Countless posthumous miracles confirmed the sanctity and glory of the Saint and he was Canonised in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI.SOD-0305-SaintJohnJosephoftheCross-790x480


Quote of the Day – 17 February – Every Eucharist is a “Mass on the world.”

Quote of the Day – 17 February – Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Every Eucharist is a “Mass on the world.”

Beyond the daily life of the believer, the Eucharist extends its action to the whole cosmos.
As Teilhard de Chardin wrote:
“When He (Christ) says through the priest “This is my body”, His words go well beyond the piece of bread over which they are pronounced:  they effect the birth of the whole Mystical Body.
Beyond the transubstantiated Host, the priestly action extends to the cosmos itself.”

Every Eucharist is a “Mass on the world.”

Fr Raneiro Cantalamessa OFM
Preacher to the Papal Household

(“This is My Body”)beyond-the-daily-life-of-the-fr-raneiro-cantalamessa-18-feb-2018-sunday-reflection.jpg

Posted in FRANCISCAN, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 17 February – Blessed Luke Belludi OFM (c 1200- c 1285)

Saint of the Day – 17 February – Blessed Luke Belludi OFM (c 1200- c 1285) – Franciscan Friar, companion of St Anthony of Padua, miracle-woker, founder of convents – born in c 1200 in Padua, Italy and died in c 1285 of natural causes.   His relics reside in the basilica of Saint Anthony in luke belludi

In 1220, Saint Anthony (1195-1231) was preaching conversion to the inhabitants of Padua when a young nobleman, Luke Belludi, came up to him and humbly asked to receive the habit of the followers of Saint Francis.   Anthony liked the talented, well-educated Luke and personally recommended him to Francis, who then received him into the Franciscan Order.

Luke, then only 20, was to be Anthony’s companion in his travels and in his preaching, tending to him in his last days and taking Anthony’s place upon his death.   He was appointed guardian of the Friars Minor in the city of Padua.   In 1239, the city fell into the hands of its enemies.   Nobles were put to death, the mayor and council were banished, the great university of Padua gradually closed and the church dedicated to Saint Anthony was left unfinished.   Luke himself was expelled from the city but secretly returned.

At night he and the new guardian would visit the tomb of Saint Anthony in the unfinished shrine to pray for his help.   One night a voice came from the tomb assuring them that the city would soon be delivered from its evil tyrant.Belludi.jpg

After the fulfilment of the prophetic message, Luke was elected provincial minister and furthered the completion of the great basilica in honour of Anthony, his teacher.   He founded many convents of the order and had, as Anthony, the gift of miracles.   Upon his death he was laid to rest in the basilica that he had helped finish and has had a continual veneration up to the present time.

Chapel of Blessed Luke Belludi at the Basilica of St Anthony in Padua

The epistles refer several times to a man named Luke as Paul’s trusted companion on his missionary journeys.   Perhaps every great preacher needs a Luke – Anthony surely did. Luke Belludi not only accompanied Anthony on his travels, he also cared for the great saint in his final illness and carried on Anthony’s mission after the saint’s death.   Yes, every preacher needs a Luke, someone to offer support and reassurance—including those who minister to us.   We don’t even have to change our names!

Posted in FRANCISCAN, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube Videos

Memorials of the Saints – 17 February

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C *2019

Seven Founders of Servants of Mary (Optional Memorial)
• Sts Alexis Falconieri
• St Bartholomew degli Amidei
• St Benedict dell’Antella
• St Buonfiglio Monaldi
• St Gherardino Sostegni
• St Hugh dei Lippi-Uguccioni
• St John Buonagiunta Monetti
About these holy men:

St Alexis Falconieri – SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS
St Antoni Leszczewicz
St Bartholomew degli Amidei – SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS
St Benedict dell’Antella – SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS
St Benedict of Cagliari
St Buonfiglio Monaldi – SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS
St Bonosus of Trier
Bl Constabilis of Cava
St Donatus the Martyr
Bl Elisabetta Sanna
St Evermod of Ratzeburg
St Faustinus the Martyr
St Finan of Iona
St Fintan of Clonenagh
St Flavian of Constantinople
St Fortchern of Trim
St Gherardino Sostegni – SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS
St Guevrock
St Habet-Deus
St Hugh dei Lippi-Uguccioni – SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS
St John Buonagiunta Monetti – SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS
St Julian of Caesarea
St Loman of Trim
Bl Luke Belludi (c 1200- c 1285)

St Lupiano
Bl Martí Tarrés Puigpelat
St Mesrop the Teacher
St Petrus Yu Chong-nyul
St Polychronius of Babylon
St Romulus the Martyr
St Secundian the Martyr
St Silvinus of Auchy
St Theodulus of Caesarea
Bl William Richardson

Posted in FRANCISCAN, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 7 February – St Giles Mary of St Joseph OFM (1729-1812)

Saint of the Day – 7 February – St Giles Mary of St Joseph OFM (1729-1812) Religious Franciscan Friar, Apostle of Charity and Prayer, Marian devotee – known as the “Consoler of Naples” and the “Saint of the Little Way” (also known as Egidio Maria da Taranto, Egidio Maria de Saint Giuseppe, Egidio Maria of Saint Joseph and Francesco Postillo).

St Giles Mary was born on 16 November 1729 at Taranto, Apulia, Italy and died on 7 February 1812 at Naples, Italy of natural causes while at prayer.   Patronage – Taranto, Italy (chosen on 29 June 1919 by Archbishop Orazio Mazzella of Taranto).st giles mary.jpg

Francesco Postillo was born in Taranto to a very poor family.   Cataldo Postillo, his father and Grazia Procaccio, his mother.   Three siblings later followed him.   He was baptised as Francesco Domenico Antonio Pasquale Postillo.

His father’s death died in 1747 left the 18-year-old Francesco to care for the family. Francesco had to abandon his hope of education and to seek work to provide for his widowed mother and siblings.   For a brief period of time he worked as a rope maker.

Although his desire was to become a priest, his lack of education meant that he was unable to fulfil this desire and served instead as a professed religious in the Order of Friars Minor in Naples.   He applied to enter the order on 27 February 1754 and made his solemn profession of vows on 28 February 1755 at the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Galatone.   He assumed the religious name of “Giles of the Mother of God” but he later altered this instead to “Giles Mary of Saint Joseph”.

For 53 years he served at St Paschal’s Hospice in Naples in various roles, such as cook, porter or most often as official beggar for that community.   He often travelled outside the confines of his convent to beg for alms and to aid those who were shunned and isolated, especially the lepers.

“Love God, love God” was his characteristic phrase as he gathered food for the friars and shared some of his bounty with the poor—all the while consoling the troubled and urging everyone to repent.  He invited men and women to recognise their own gifts and to live out their dignity as people made in God’s divine image. 220px-Sant'Egidio_Maria_di_San_Giuseppe.JPG

The charity which he reflected on the streets of Naples was born in prayer and nurtured in the common life of the friars.  St Giles often carried an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a depiction known as Our Lady of the Well when he made sick calls.   The people whom Giles met on his begging rounds nicknamed him the “Consoler of Naples.”

In the same year that a power-hungry Napoleon Bonaparte led his army into Russia, Giles Mary of St Joseph ended a life of humble service to his Franciscan community and to the citizens of Naples.   The date was 7 February 1812. Huge crowds turned out for his funeral, lamenting the loss of their Consoler.

His relics are enshrined in an urn next to the icon of Our Lady of the Well in the church of San Pasquale Baylón in Taranto.

He was Canonised on 2 June 1996 by St Pope John Paul II.   His canonisation miracle involved the cure of Mrs Angela Mignogna in 1937.SOD-0213-SaintGilesMaryofStJoseph-790x480.jpg